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Guest Book Review: LUTE

Reviewed by Sue Rovens.

When I saw other reviews linking this book to The Wicker Man and Final Destination, I was already invested. These are two stories I love (for various reasons), and any book or film that compares to them will automatically be placed in my wheelhouse.

The story follows Nina Treadway, and to a lesser degree, her family and a handful of Lute residents. Those who live on the island of Lute are blessed with all things good and beautiful, protected from the nearby “war”, and enjoy perfect health and weather. However, as the locals understand, the proverbial shoe must drop every seven years on what is known as The Day. While Nina is relatively new to the island’s customs and sorted history, she gradually learns some ugly truths as her own self-discovery looms in the background.

In the first few chapters, I was concerned that the book might lean heavily on fantasy and world building, but after the setting was established, characters and pacing took over. It’s a well-written, easily digested work that gives nods to many familiar tropes. And though I didn’t find it anywhere near as intense as Wicker Man or as harrowing as Final Destination, the story and the characters kept my attention for the duration.

This is Ms. Thorne’s first foray into writing for adults (she normally writes YA). Although I’m not a connoisseur of YA novels, I imagine this would best be categorized as something in between YA and Adult – sort of thriller-lite. If you are expecting extreme horror or heart-racing moments, you might be hard-pressed to find them here. However, I would recommend Lute for anyone who enjoys mild folk-horror-ish tales and/or contemplative inner-dialogue as the main character changes and grows.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


About Sue Rovens:

Sue Rovens is an indie suspense/horror author who lives in Normal, Illinois. She has written five novels and two books of short horror stories.

Track 9, her second novel, snagged a starred review in Publisher's Weekly (May 2018), her short story, “Coming Over”, from her book, In a Corner, Darkly (Volume 1) was turned into a screenplay and short student indie film by the theater department of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and another short story, “When the Earth Bled”, won 2nd place in the Support Indie Authors short story contest. Her three most recent books (Buried, Rage, and Sanctum) are under Plump Toad Press.

Sue owns a blog ( which includes interviews with authors, musicians, podcasters, and artists. She is also a current member of both the Chicago Writers Association and the Alliance for Independent Authors (ALLi).


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